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My Vacuum’s Brushes Have Stopped Spinning

We’ve all done it… you’re happily vacuuming away when suddenly you realise you’ve sucked a stray sock into the machine and now the brushes won’t turn anymore. What to do next? We have all the right ideas to get you cleaning again…

Vax Expert says


“Your machine is working perfectly and it’s a ‘good cleaning day.’ Then you hear a strange sound and your machine sounds as though it is getting louder and making a rattling sound. What on earth has happened? You switch off and realise that you’ve pulled something into the front of the machine. Don’t panic!”

The first thing to do is unplug your machine and then, if obvious, carefully pull the offending item out. Then, turn your machine back on and look downwards; is the brushbar rotating again? If it is, great, you can continue with your cleaning, but do be aware of stray socks and crafty curtains next time you vacuum! It’s always a good idea before you start to go around the room and pick up any large items that may cause this sort of problem. Tassels on rugs or curtains can cause the same issue, so make sure you give them a wide berth.

Brushes no long rotating? The next step will depend on the style of upright vacuum cleaner you own. Traditional upright models feature a consumable drive belt which may need to be checked and replaced, but others allow you to attempt to ‘reset’ the brushes and resume cleaning immediately. Now is the time to dig out that user guide and look at the troubleshooting section!

Modern upright vacuum cleaners feature a ‘reset’ system for their brushbars, meaning no more changing belts! With the machine unplugged, check for any material trapped across the brushbar and remove, for example carefully cutting away wrapped threads with scissors. Then, turn the machine back on and press the brushbar reset button. You may then have to separately turn the brushbar on again. Check the user guide for the specific steps for your model.

If your cleaner has a traditional drive belt, your user guide will explain how to check and change the belt. Usually, this involves removing a number of screws from the base. The drive belt is designed to fail if too much tension occurs, helping protect the motor of your cleaner from lasting damage, so can happen even after a small amount of use. It’s a very good idea to buy a spare drive belt for such models to keep in your cupboard on standby, as it’s a real pain for this accident to happen when you don’t have a spare at hand.

Broken belts or ‘tripped’ reset systems are the most common reasons for a brushbar not turning, but there are some other less common reasons too. These include:

  • If the bearings on the end of the brushbar have seized, you won’t be able to turn it at all. This will often result in a broken belt as well, so be aware of this when checking the belt as above.
  • If your machine has a brushbar on/off switch, have you remembered to turn this back on after turning it off for hard floors?
  • If the brushbar control switch is on, does the handle need to be pulled back to the vacuuming position to activate the brushbar? Most machines with the brushbar reset system stop the brushbar when the handle is locked into the upright position (for storage) to prevent damage to floors


If your brushbar is still not working after following the above steps, then you should contact your vacuum cleaner’s manufacturer for further assistance.

How helpful did you find our tips? Do you have a system for avoiding obstructions when vacuuming? Leave a comment and let us know!

Vax Vacuum Cleaner Range

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  • Kook Kook

    My vac match air the brushes have stopped spinning but the green light is on what could be wrong ..i have pressed reset button but nothing .picking up on hard floor but not my carpets could you help please and ty xx

  • cmcdaid

    Hi there. I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble with your vacuum cleaner? I’m sorry there’s also been a delay in responding. Have you managed to make any progress since? Thanks for your comment. Christina

  • muPPet20

    I have the same problem with u89-ma-pf. The green light is on but the brushes do not turn.
    Belt is ok, i can turn the brushes by hand so think bearings are ok, nothing stuck in the brushes, have tried the reset button but nothing happens. There is suction on hard floor and on the carpet but the brushes do not turn. Any ideas

  • cmcdaid

    Hi there. I apologise for the delayed response and I’m sorry to hear about your cleaner. Thanks for taking the time to check through the necessary steps. There may be a fault with your machine and therefore I advise you contact our support team on

  • disqus_qirqtow2Tg

    I have a Vax Mach Air model U91 MA B. The drive belt has broken but the manual says do not attempt to acces/replace the drive belt. What do I do now?

  • Thanks for the information Pat. You can also find spares on our spares website –


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